Scottish brewer and bar operator BrewDog has expanded its range with a gluten-free beer and an 8.7% ABV IPA inspired by 19th-century recipes.
Vagabond Gluten Free Pale Ale will be added to its Headliners range after it was a hit in the company’s 2014 BrewDog Prototype Challenge, proving that a lack of gluten did not equate to lack of flavour.
In a tongue-in-cheek launch campaign, drinkers are encouraged to order the new beer in BrewDog bars by sticking two fingers up to represent being “intolerant of gluten intolerance” and other “substandard” gluten-free beers on the market.
It is also running a social media campaign inviting people to share their intolerance of other gluten-free options using the hashtag #VforVagabond.
BrewDog co-founder James Watt said: “Gluten-free products have become synonymous with underwhelming flavour and experience, so we wanted to prove that a gluten-free beer didn’t need to lack the bold taste and texture of a craft beer.
“Avoiding gluten can often leave people feeling like their only choice is a listless beer with both gluten and flavour removed but now they can stick two fingers up to all that, literally.”
Made with Centennial and Amarillo hops to pack an intense citrus bitterness, the 4.5% ABV Pale Ale joins the brewery’s Headliners range which includes BrewDog’s iconic beers Punk IPA, Dead Pony Pale Ale, Five AM Red Ale, This.Is.Lager. and Brixton Porter.
BrewDog’s new 8.7% ABV IPA has been christened “Restorative Beverage for Invalids and Convalescents”, inspired by a description of India Pale Ale in an 1843 textbook, A Treatise on Food and Diet, by the “father of pharmacology” Dr Jonathan Pereira.
The book describes the mid-19th-century IPA as “carefully fermented, so as to be devoid of all sweetness, or, in other words, to be dry; and it contains double the usual quantity of hops. It forms, therefore, a most valuable restorative beverage for invalids and convalescents.”
To achieve the style and flavour of mid-19th-century IPAs with a revivalist twist, BrewDog employed the latest hopping technology and brewing techniques at its state-of-the-art brewery in Ellon, Aberdeenshire.
The signature dryness and pale colour of the beer came as a result of mashing the fermentable ingredients, in this case Maris Otter Extra Pale malt and sugar, at very low temperatures.
An abundance of different hops famed for their intense bitterness, Citra, Amarillo and Centennial, were used to ensure the beer came as close as possible to being “devoid of all sweetness”, as the textbook said.
Additional hops were fired at the beer through the brewery’s “hop cannon” after fermenting to add additional aroma.
James said: “This is heritage and history in a bottle. BrewDog has always been inspired by the IPAs of the past, famed for the huge quantities of hops used to create bold and brash bitterness.
“With this beer, we have created a beer with such intensity that it is akin to injecting hops straight into your tongue with a needle. It’s the India Pale Ale in its purest form: pale, bitter and dry.”